Mark C. Toner
Deputy Department Spokesperson
May 4, 2016
As part of our urgent efforts to de-escalate violence in Syria and reaffirm the Cessation of Hostilities nationwide, the United States and Russia concluded arrangements late yesterday to extend this effort to Aleppo province, including Aleppo city and its surrounding areas. Since this went into effect today at 00:01 in Damascus, we have seen an overall decrease in violence in these areas, even though there have been reports of continued fighting in some locations.
To ensure this continues in a sustainable way, we are coordinating closely with Russia to finalize enhanced monitoring efforts of this renewed cessation. We expect all parties to the Cessation of Hostilities to abide fully by the renewed cessation in Aleppo and throughout the entire country, pursuant to the terms of the arrangements established in Munich in February 2016. Attacks directed against Syria’s civilian population can never be justified, and these must stop immediately.
We look to Russia as a co-chair of the International Syria Support Group to press for the Assad regime’s compliance with this effort, and the United States will do its part with the opposition. Following the regime’s overnight airstrikes against Eastern Ghouta, we welcome today’s reaffirmation of the cessation in Eastern Ghouta for the next 48 hours. It is critical that Russia redouble its efforts to influence the regime to abide fully by the cessation.
Our objective remains, and has always been, a single nationwide cessation of hostilities covering all of Syria – not a series of local truces. We are determined to reaffirm the Cessation of Hostilities across Syria and will continue expanding this effort so we can de-escalate the violence, alleviate the suffering, and help create the conditions that enable the parties to resume negotiations focused on a political transition, as called for in UN Security Council Resolution 2254 and the 2012 Geneva Communique.